Play it for CHANEL

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The fashion world is always colliding and collaborating with artists, like two exotic fish constantly swimming around each other in a never-ending dance of inspiration, a black and white yin & yang. When the Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2015 collection came to New York for 48 hours they sent a selection over to our studio for another midnight sitting (after the delicate, one-of-a-kind pieces spent the day in back-to-back appointments with clients, collectors, buyers and press).

Of course, shooting couture on a model would be terribly fun but sometimes I want more of a story… not to mention, the Chanel shoots happen in the middle of New York Fashion Week where every model is busy being sent down the runways multiple times a day.

So we find our own muses.

Last September it was our Botticelli-esque raven, artist India Salvor Menuez on a concrete set piece we created for her, to live like a flower sprouting up between the cracks of distressed urban time. For this sitting, my creative collaborator Kelly Framel, found violinist Margot Moe, already a fixture in the fashion world for her legendary violin riffs over musical partner Mia Moretti’s DJ sets. They’ve brought music from the Lower East Side up to the runways of Fashion Week and into the temple of art by opening for Janet Jackson at the Louvre.

Which brings me back to my point of fashion and art and its never ending dance of inspiration.

So here Margot is, an artist, and there is CHANEL, the most legendary fashion house in the world, a moment of black and white yin and yang tugging and pulling and swirling and and jumping around each other on set like a tangled pair of lovers caught up in the fires of inspiration one never quite able to let the other go.

We sat in the studio in silence and listened to Margot play, the snow falling in a white blanket outside our old industrial windows contrasting with the inky black looks billowing through the set and I thought back to that moment when I was sitting in Coco Chanel’s Paris apartment  last fall, listening to the stories of her intimate dinner parties. She liked interesting people, people who had a story, people who created something and played to their own tune much like Coco herself.

I can’t help but think in another world, she would have been quite pleased to have Margot filling her home and her heart with a soulful tune that would fade out onto the black and white streets of Paris…

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Tell me about some of the current projects you are working on?

I’m in the studio right now recording my solo record, creating a classical music mixtape, and writing an orchestral piece. 

You’re an incredible violinist, how did you get started?

I picked it up when I was four and haven’t put it down since. 

What drew you to the violin? 

It’s a conversation without words.

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The Romantic world of Michelle Hébert

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Recently I was at an Everlane dinner with my friend Caroline {pictured here} to launch their new very cute boatneck shirts. Caroline and I were talking about our next shoot together and that we should do something totally different from the Everlane campaign photos she’s all over the web in.

I’ve been photographing her for years now, there is just something about her face I love. Plus she is an amazing jewelry designer, an all around great human being, and a really fun time.  At that same time my friend Bess, who is an incredible floral designer {she does the Vanity Fair Oscar Party!} was coming in from L.A. and wanted to collaborate on something like our previous shoots. She recently met this L.A. based fashion designer Michelle Hébert and sent me some images of her dresses which I found insanely dark and romantic. So Bess brought the gowns and flowers, Caroline brought her beautiful face, makeup artist Eddie Hernandez used all rose scented Chantecaille products and together we brought the gowns to life.

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Once the pieces were on the body we could really see the creativity of the designs. What’s crazy is that this designer is 24 and self taught! Obviously one day she will be winning Oscars for costume design or working for one of her favorite fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen.  I had to know more about this girl out in L.A. hand sewing fantasies in her parents garage so I interviewed her to see what is in her mind that makes these moments.

Describe the idea behind this flower, lace and tulle designed dress:

Michelle Hébert: One of my early pieces and a design created to pay homage to the late Alexander McQueen. It almost felt collaborative as I set out to use symbols we both admired such as flowers, but to take that and design something that was my own. Materials: Lace, Flower Appliqués, Chiffon, Beads, and Tulle. 

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A Cinemagraph Journey

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Today we got some good press… As I woke up to friends tweeting and texting me I hesitantly went to read the article. I’ll be honest, reading about your work from someone else’s perspective is always terrifying. Do they get it? Do they even like it? Are we on the right path, saying the right things? Sometimes, when you are “in it” its hard to see the bigger picture. I read this article and looked back on this crazy cinemagraph journey that started 5 years ago and I have to say, an overwhelming feeling of pride and love came over me. I love my work, I love that I get to do what I love as work, and I feel so, so, very lucky that people like it. That there is a digital audience to even see it and if we do a good enough job at reaching an emotional string- share it with their own networks.

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Last summer I read a book about Edward Weston where he said in 1930:

“If this could happen- a beautifully printed book of my work- it would ‘make’ me. And the wider distribution of my work, -knowing that it was being seen by hundreds or thousands, instead of the handful who come in here, would have a fine, strengthening effect upon me.”

With digital art the internet is our book and the fact that millions of people have seen some of our cinemagraphs from around the world gives me some sort of greater fulfillment even if they don’t know our name. To share images that tell a story of the times, that can take you to a place, that can remind you of the way something feels or even maybe dream a little is a my own dream job. As a photographer, don’t you want as many people as possible to see, share and respond to your work? I know Weston did and I know I do too.

Sometimes people have certain connotations about commercial work or commissioned work by brands with artists. I actually love working with brands. Understanding their message, finding how I fit into their world, what it is about their idea or product that inspires me into resonating a vision in my mind. Telling brand stories is a creative challenge and finding the balance between you-pay-me-to-work and I-make-something-meaningful-as-an-artist is always a struggle, but the one thing I will not sacrifice. That makes it possible when stepping back and looking at 5 years of work to feel proud of what you made because it came from your heart. Of course, not everything we do is commissioned by brands such as the examples in the article, sometimes we catch it blowing by in a moment in time or glimpses into our own life.

So we hope to continue to fill your feeds with beautiful cinemagraphs to the best of our ability. We hope to spend our life giving you something you want to look at for as long as possible.

Thank you for the support.

 

Beach Resort Fashion

 

As I sit here in New York City, it’s 24 degrees outside, we just “survived” snowmeggedon and more freezing rain is in the forecast for this next week. Oy, I’m ready for a break from winter, to play in the sun and sand and look out on a horizon of endless teals and blues until it ignites into a fiery sunset. I like to fantasize about what I’d wear to the beach or sparkling dinners seaside. Until that getaway day comes I’ll just pretend I’m here at Casa Claridge Beach Club, in these sweet, simple, resort outfits for the classic girl at heart.

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Above~ Jill Stuart crop top and skirt | Maiyet Purse | Maiyet Bracelet

Below~ Audra Bustier | Christian Siriano Trousers

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Above~ Solid & Striped black swimsuit | Maiyet sweater | Tiffany T bracelet 

Below~ Jill Stuart dress | Maiyet Shoes

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Above~ Jill Stuart crop top and skirt | Maiyet Purse | Maiyet Bracelet

Below~ Zimmermann Swimsuit

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Above & Below~ Tanya Taylor Meredith Dress

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Above~ Maiyet dress | Maiyet Purse | Maiyet Ring

Below~ Audra Bustier | Christian Siriano Trousers

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Shot in Miami at Casa Claridge Beach Club | Styled by Kelly Framel | Modeled by Gabby from Ford Models | Hair & Makeup by Melissa Connor using Sephora Cosmetics | Manicurist Cecilia from Pau-Eric Sinclair

Machu Picchu

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I always say, the best places in the world are the hardest to get to. An eight hour flight to a one hour flight to a thirty minute bus to a three hour train to a 4am alarm clock to a thirty minute bus to here. Totally worth the journey when “here” is the amazing Machu Picchu. Being there, when the doors opened (and relieved we didn’t fall off the mountain on the bus ride up!) in the quite morning air, soft diffused light, and sounds of nature alone was more of a spiritual feeling of being one with the history of humanity, earth, and astronomy. A connectedness that is so easy to forget or not feel in our real lives at work in New York City.

We spent the first part of the morning hiking up paths to vista points, turning back to take it all in, photograph the majesty then continue on until we reached the farthest perch. We sat for a very long time, made some time lapses, watched birds soar through the valley, inhaled the smell of incense from people who came to meditate and feel the energy of this astonishing place and just be. Be in the moment. I was there, one of my dream places, and this moment meant so much to me.

Our entire journey to Machu Picchu was arranged by Grey Line tours which I can now highly recommend. Our private guide who took us to the citadel, Hector, was incredible and patient with us. He let us do our thing, took us to the best photographic spots and peaceful places and waited until we were ready for all the information… and boy did I have A LOT of questions. I won’t fill you in on the history of Machu Picchu, hello wikipedia, or even share too many photographs. I think, for this moment, it is best lived and I hope everyone has the chance to experience this place as I have and feel that thing which can not be expressed in pixels but in LIFE.

Machu Picchu. Did it. As my Dad and I like to say “Check.”

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Resort Chic

There is nothing like getting away from the winter months, packing a light suitcase and going someplace warm. Any place warm. I love dressing for my travels, be it adventure wear for #onlyinsouthamerica or polished L.B.D’s for Parisian nights.

Usually when I think of “resort” fashion I imagine a lot of bright colors and printed patterns which is not really my personal style. So why should it have to change just because you’re on vacation? On a recent trip down to Miami, Kelly and I shot a fashion editorial for the minimalist at heart while also letting the latin culture find influence into our shoot. I loved how the walls of Casa Claridge, our location for this sitting, reminded me so many places in Cusco and I’m instantly transported back to the terra cotta floors and dusty stucco walls.

Here is our take on resort fashion, a study of simplicity and the classics, pieces you can then wear over and over again and if you’re lucky, maybe to some places like these

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AboveMonique Lhuillier dress || Monica Rich Kosann Earrings

Below~ Wes Gordon dress || Monica Rich Kosann Bracelet || Fragments studs

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Old School Photography

Holiday_Card_2014_02Much about being a creative is really understanding your voice and your vision, which isomething I have struggled with in the past while trying to find myself as an artist. With the passage of time and constant study, you start to see who you are, what you love and then… how the world truly looks to you. I will never be able to escape my tendency toward romance, beauty, simplicity, emotion and the classics.

So, I embrace it.

I can never ignore the soul fulfilling satisfaction of taking a photograph from concept, to composition, and then captured at just the right moment on film. That one shot, the quarter of a second pulled from time and eternalized into a physical object of study. This was the birth of photography for me, this was how you would take a picture and then agonize through your fear of mistakes in the waiting of development; a torturous process that I’m insanely in love with. In 2012 I decided that our studio holiday cards would be created in this fashion every year as a way for me to count the passage of time, to make something of an artifact for the people in my life, and to slow down from our crazy digitized lives back to where it all began for me as a photographer. I get to give the best I’ve got in this old school process; my vision, my thoughts, my mind, my passions, my skill and most of all, my time.

For this year’s studio holiday card I thought about the recurring visuals from 2014 and let my mind’s eye wash away in the strong currents of pictorial memories. What stood out to me? What did I learn about myself? What did I realize I loved? We traveled around and around the world to Bali, Brazil, Australia, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Provence, Germany, England, the American South, and Peru (more on that next week!) and you’ve been with me each step of the way these 12 months.

As I reflected on the year the place I loved most was Paris. It keeps coming back to me, as if a part of my soul is there waiting. I love the classic nature of her perfectly white architecture. The endless amounts of art and inspiration. And of course, the light. I love the way the french look at beauty and the physical form. As an adult now in charge of my own body, destiny and confidence, I’ve found that I am now enamored with the beauty of the body, it’s evolution and ever changing shapes, the softness of skin and functionality that make us human. I thought about the beautiful sculptures of Paris that dot my endless walks, the thing I love to do most there. I thought about that day I spent in the Louvre with my father and all those breathtaking halls of beauty celebrating the female form. Then that was it. I wanted to bring all of those things into my world, in front of my lens, on an early winter evening at Ann Street Studio…

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Using a dark changing bag I loaded Ilford Delta 400 black and white film into my 4×5 sheet film holders. Below our intern Sarah Rocco captured behind the scenes shots photographing model Mitzi who I previously worked with at our studio and who I knew had the type of body I was going for. Holiday_Card_2014_07Holiday_Card_2014_11

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Happy Holidays

Holiday_Party_cover00How lucky are we that we get to work with our best friends? My friendship with Kelly began 3 years ago on a shoot in Malibu where we shot all day, and dreamed all night. Fast forward to now, another year in our friendship. We shared a house in Amagansett, she threw me the best birthday party of all, we collaborated on shoots from CHANEL to golden goddesses, cool kids to Victoria Secret models. Before we each go home to our real families Kelly and I had a Holiday Party here at the studio for our little New York family, the ones that buy you a drink after a hard day or make you laugh when work is stressful or keep you inspired though all forms of collaboration… and the occasional selfie.

Of course we had to go big and by go big we mean we decked the entire party out in Ralph Lauren from the table tops to the shoes! …so it was basically my dream party. Zach, Kelly’s boyfriend (who just opened a new restaurant in Manhattan!) made the most beautiful dinner of Coq au Vin (recipe HERE!) while Kevin welcomed our guests with a Suburban cocktail (see his story & recipe below!).

Kelly took care of the table with a focus on personal touches, my favorite being the way she did the place settings by using a small silver frame and having me print photos that I have taken of us through the years (which was super easy using THIS), as a way to mark each person’s seat at the table. I loved this touch. I thought it really represented our friendship and collaboration and was an amazing way for everyone to re-tell the story behind the image.

While she sat the table I thought it would be fun to put the photo studio in use even for a dinner party! I threw up a gray seamless and put some warm gels over a couple of kino flo lights and had the camera ready to go to take portraits of each other, to remember this time in our lives together, and this holiday season. As the night progressed the portrait studio turned into a candid riot of laughter and dancing and all out friendship silliness. I cherish this night, these real moments of laugher and wine, photography and art- all the passions that brought us together in the first place.

So here’s to the holiday season. I hope you find some inspiration in our intimate Ralph Lauren inspired dinner party for your own this December and remember to be with the ones that you love….

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Kelly has a method to her table-setting-madness! See here entertaining tips here

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Above~ keeping it classic in a Ralph Lauren Collection Cashmere Chunky Knit Turtleneck (I order a size up to make it extra cozy), Collection Pencil Skirt and Suede Blamina Sandal

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Maiyet Resort

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Sometimes you have to be present in the moment. Sometimes you wake up and it’s raining outside, the wind is ripping at you and what you physically feel in nature, you are emotionally feeling in life. When Kelly and I were talking about shooting a fashion story on MAIYET’s resort collection, fittingly while at a resort for Art Basel, we couldn’t have anticipated the day nature gave to us. I wanted to use it as inspiration, to set the mood, to let the rain fall on her, the sand stick to her skin, the wind throw her hair and the ocean push her down. I wanted to wash away the year into a black and white memory. I’ve been so raw lately, having traveled and created non-stop for so long. I wanted a dark day on the beach, just to feel… something.

I think though the turmoil of that day, the turmoil of emotion is a part of life and a part of art. The change in the weather, the change in our lives. Everything changes, does it not? I remember last summer shooting my first story on MAIYET, the dancing light of the eastern tip of Long Island, the bond of friendship and womanhood captured from behind the lens. This resort collection carries the same threads but like life, you can see the changes. The signature cuffs are here but they are bigger now. The gorgeous coats take on more volume. The artful design to clothing is still there but more refined, more wearable from ocean to ocean.

So why MAIYET?… because they think differently. They hire artisans from around the world to produce their boutique clothing line which aids in these craftsmen to be able to build viable businesses in counties where opportunities like that do not exist so freely. Beyond the clothing they work with artists like Benjamin Millepied to choreograph a video with custom made pieces in movement to a beautiful dance based on an ancient Greek love story. They also made my all time favorite black blazer I’ve worn more than any other article of clothing, and THIS video which always and always gives me wanderlust.

…. and then I’m ready again for the sun to come out.

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Remembering Oscar de la Renta

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On the day an American icon passed away I found myself in the throws of living in one of his visions. It was quite a surreal experience to be dining with Mr. Oscar de la Renta’s friends at the luxury resort he co-owned and designed when news of his passing came to me through a social media alert on my phone. I read the comment out loud in disbelief and shock after spending a day speaking of him so often. Our dinner companions that evening had known and looked at us with great sadness when we discovered it at that moment. In a true act of elegance, they told us it wasn’t their place to make the announcement until his wife and family made an official statement. Such respect, a trait so few people excersie but was so elegantly found in Mr. de la Renta’s character.

We all shared Oscar stories from our experiences with him, I loved seeing how his warmth had affected their lives. For me, I took a moment to remember the first time I met him and getting a glimpse behind the scenes at the design house that makes every girl’s dream dresses. I feel so fortunate to have photographed him, created Cinemagraphs with his collections, photographed his ladylike pieces in fashion shoots, made memories with friends in Oscar, to having the insane honor of wearing his gowns on very special occasions.

We raised our glasses to a great man who did nothing but make women feel beautiful and teach us a thing or two about life.

{above- Coco Rocha has a quiet moment in Oscar, below more of my favorite Oscar moments}

 Photographer Jamie Beck remembers fashion designer Oscar de la Renta Photographer Jamie Beck remembers fashion designer Oscar de la Renta Photographer Jamie Beck remembers fashion designer Oscar de la Renta Photographer Jamie Beck remembers fashion designer Oscar de la Renta Photographer Jamie Beck remembers fashion designer Oscar de la Renta  Remembering_OscardelaRenta_07 Photographer Jamie Beck remembers fashion designer Oscar de la Renta  Remembering_OscardelaRenta_10 Photographer Jamie Beck remembers fashion designer Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta SS2015 | A Day with Oscar de la Renta | My Favorite Collection | Inside the Design Studio | Oscar’s Cinemagraph | Oscar in Paris | Coco & Oscar | Oscar’s Botique | Oscar’s Resort

Island Girl

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The beauty of Punta Cana was not limited to the just the resorts, but I found the island people of the Dominican Republic mirrored what nature had created. From their charming personality to beautiful warm skin color I found them intoxicating. A strange hybrid of latin culture mixing with European elegance, most of the people we met spoke multiple languages, lived abroad in Europe for a time and had a history of world experience. Being a photographer left alone on a island with her best friend (a stylist) and all these beautiful locals, we decided to focus our lens on Ana Nicole, another one of the Dominican Republic’s beautiful island girls, before she sets out to university in Holland… but for now, she’s just hanging out in Elle Sasson, letting the sun warm her skin, getting guys to open coconuts for us.

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Natural Beauty

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Natural beauty comes in all forms, in the bareness of a woman’s face, the sweeping landscape of our earth’s vistas, the colors of a sunset and in a precious metal that came crashing down to earth 4 billion years ago: GOLD. We talk about gold jewelry here a lot from what it means to us to where we wear it. I’m always inspired by what designers do with these natural elements, how they create magic with something that traveled across the universe and existed here before mankind.

Modeled by my own natural beauty muse Alli Lanier here are 5 new jewelry designers I’m finding inspiring these days to watch~

Temple St. Clair

Temple St. Clair began, like many great works of art, in Florence, Italy in 1986. A city where the namesake designer still draws inspiration from stating, “Each object that I create carries the soul of the history of the artisans of Florence.” With her signature cocktail rings, rock crystal amulets and elegant gold work, this very chic woman has created a line of jewelry that is collected by in-the-know women that appreciate the balance of art, history and craftsmanship.

Above cover~ 18K Gold Classic Horizontal Oval Ring with Blue Sapphire & Diamond Granulation

Below~ Royal Blue Moonstone & Diamond 18K Gold Bella Bangle

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Below~ 18K Gold Owl Face Post Earring with Diamonds

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Hanley Mellon

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Who ever said being put together meant having to be uncomfortable? Nicole Mellon has set out to change that with her fall collection of simple, classic, sophisticated, and comfortable clothing for the new modern day woman which needs this sort of easy versatility. I didn’t know what to expect when I first met Nicole at her apartment in the glamorous Pierre Hotel; the second I walked in the door I was overcome by her kindness, creativity, sense of style and warmth. She believes, like I do, that flats at night can be just as chic, effortlessness is real beauty, and simplicity is timeless. These are my favorite pieces from her line Hanely Mellon– something for everyday and always.

{ps- how cool is this #tbt pic of hers?…}

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